WINNIPEG - Tim Burke gave pause, then simply came to the conclusion that an attempt at misdirection was futile.
Generally speaking, football coaches are loathe to hand out parts of the game plan but the Winnipeg Blue Bombers defensive co-ordinator made an exception this time.
And who can blame him?
When an opposition running back lights you up for 235 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns in the previous meeting, it’s tough to keep a secret.
“Ah, yes. I mean obviously,” said Burke, when asked if a little extra attention will be paid to Alouettes tailback Brandon Whitaker on Friday when the two teams meet for the second time this season.
“He’s arguably the best running back in the league. He just needs a little crack in the line and he can take it the distance. He’s got great balance, great hands, he’s a fierce competitor. Having been in Montreal, I know him well and respect him a lot. He’s a very good player.
“They tried to isolate him on our linebackers a lot, so we’re going to try to take that dimension away from them.”
Burke knows better than anyone that the Alouettes attack features plenty of weapons, including veteran pivot Anthony Calvillo.
“The challenge for us is that this is the No. 1 offence and we’ve got to do our best job of the year against these guys,” said Burke.
“Everything is timing and spacing on the field, everything is in a rhythm and they get the ball our fast. And it’s hard to confuse Anthony. He’s seen it all. You’ve got to try and out-execute him.”
On the flip side, the Alouettes defence has endured some difficulty, but that doesn’t mean the Blue Bombers are going to generate fireworks automatically.
“It goes game-by-game. They have struggled, but you never know when that light bulb will go on,” said Blue Bombers receiver Terrence Edwards. “They might come out and play their best game of the year. We’re not going to take them lightly because they haven’t played up to their standards.
“We’ve got to go out there and do the things we know how to do. If we do that, we could be successful. If we don’t, with their offence, it could be a long night.”